Joseph Herrin (09-24-09)
Please note: Some of the following is necessarily sexually explicit, but it is with a very good purpose. Those who understand the correlation between a woman’s body and the Tabernacle of God, will be enabled to discern that both are to be viewed as holy in the eyes of man. The debasing of the woman’s body into a symbol of lust is a tragic result of the activity of Satan and the fruit of sin. God would have us to restore a sense of holiness to the realm of sexuality.
A second foundation to be laid in order to answer many of the questions pertaining to marriage, divorce, and remarriage, is that of observing how the Father has created the physical human body after the pattern found in the Tabernacle of Moses and the Temple of Solomon.
That God has designed the human body and the Tabernacle and Temple as types and anti-types of one another is plainly stated in Scriptures.
I Corinthians 6:19
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God…
II Corinthians 6:16
What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Yahshua Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.
I Peter 2:5
You also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house…
These Scriptures are but a sampling of the many that bring forth the concept of mankind having been designed to be a sanctuary, a tabernacle, and a holy dwelling place for the Spirit of God. We should therefore expect that what Yahweh has shown forth in the design of the Tabernacle and Temple will find correspondence with the physical bodies of men and women.
One evident parallel is that both the Tabernacle and Temple contained three distinct and clearly defined sections. There was the Outer Court, the Inner Court or Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place. These three sections find perfect correspondence to man as he is also a tri-part being consisting of body, soul and spirit.
I Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Yahshua Christ.
It is to be noted that the Tabernacle of Moses, which was the original sanctuary of Israel, and in some ways a better pattern of man (for it was mobile, rather than fixed in one place), was covered in skins. This is a feature that was lacking in the Temple of Solomon.
And he made a covering for the tent of rams’ skins* dyed red, and a covering of porpoise skins above.
* (some translations say “badger’s skins”)
The Tabernacle in the Wilderness was a structure of poles covered with skins in the same way the human body is a structure of bones covered with skin. Inside and outside the Tabernacle were various vessels and implements that find correspondence with the organs of man. There was the Bronze Laver, or Bronze Sea, located outside for the purpose of cleaning. There was the altar for sacrifices, also in the Outer Court. In the Holy Place was the Table of Showbread and the Golden Candlestick, the latter of which was at times moved into the Holy of Holies. In the Holy of Holies was the Ark of the Covenant, and there was a curtain to divide between each of the sections. The curtain concealing the entrance to the Holy of Holies was described in this way.
“And you shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen… and the veil shall serve for you as a partition between the holy place and the holy of holies.”
It is particularly upon this point that I would like to focus, as much can be gleaned concerning the marriage covenant, virginity, and sexual fidelity as the type of the veil of the Tabernacle and the anti-type of the virgin hymen are observed together.
The anatomical definition given to the female hymen from days of antiquity is “the veil of the temple.” The Greeks related this description of the female hymen to the rites of the goddess Aphrodite, whose temple contained a veil like curtain to mark the entrance to the inner sanctum. Aphrodite was considered the goddess of love and sexual intimacy. The veil in front of the inner sanctum of Aphrodite’s temple was called “the hymen.” The Greek word hymen literally means “veil,” though it can be more scientifically rendered as “membrane,” and often is.
The veil is an emblem well known to people throughout the world in association with brides, particularly virgin brides, though many do not know the origin of the association. To the Greeks, the word Hymen (veil) was closely linked to marriage and weddings. Aside from the association found in the temple of Aphrodite, the Greeks also recognized Hymen as the name of one of their gods.
Hymen, also rendered as Hymenaeus, or Hymenaios, was depicted as a youthful and beautiful young man who carried a torch and a veil. Various tales were related to him, such as one that described him rescuing a group of young maidens from a band of pirates. Having delivered them from being ravished by these evil men, the maidens all honored Hymen on their wedding days, and their Wedding songs became known as Hymeneal songs, from which we get our present day term “hymnal.” That the church has continued the use of the term hymnal is not altogether inappropriate, for the church has been espoused to Christ as a pure virgin (II Corinthians 11:2), and she does stand in anticipation of her marriage union with Christ.
The names of the gods were often given to individuals, a practice that continues to this day, though often in ignorance. In Scriptures we find saints who bore the names Apollos and Hermes. There is even one named who bore the name of the god Hymen.
I Timothy 1:20
Among these are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have delivered over to Satan, so that they may be taught not to blaspheme.
I am demonstrating the relationship between the word hymen and the veil to encourage understanding of the points which will follow. Although the Greeks, and many other cultures, were very vain in their worship of strange gods and goddesses, there were elements of truth mixed in with their myths and fables. The Greeks, as did other cultures before them, recognized that the female hymen, that thin veil of flesh, a living membrane that covers the entrance to the vagina, served as a type and shadow of the veil of the temple. The human body was designed to be the temple, or tabernacle, of God, and no matter how much Satan and fallen mankind has corrupted this knowledge, the basic fact remains as ordained by the One true God, Yahweh.
It is this association of the hymen being the veil of the human temple that has given rise to the prominence of veils as part of a virgin bride’s dress. The veil worn by a bride is a testimony of her virginity. Even as a virgin’s wedding gown is typically white, to denote purity, the wedding veil provides testimony to the bride’s chastity. During the wedding ceremony the bridegroom removes the bridal veil, as testimony that his bride has remained pure and that he is given the honor of being the first to enter into sexual union with her.
In the Old Testament, the intact hymen provided evidence of a woman’s virginity. When a virgin has sexual intercourse for the first time, the hymen is torn, and bleeding results. On her wedding night, the bride would carry a piece of cloth with her to catch the blood that flowed when her hymen was thus torn. The cloth would then be given to the woman’s father to keep as proof that she was a virgin when she wed.
“If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her, and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly defames her, and says,’ I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,’ then the girl’s father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate. And the girl’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her; and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, “I did not find your daughter a virgin.” But this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city. So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl’s father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days. But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel, by playing the harlot in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
Note what a serious matter this was. There is no other law found in the Old Testament whereby a man entered upon such dire consequences for making a false accusation than in this matter of a woman’s virginity. To falsely accuse a woman who had kept herself pure of uncleanness, would result in a fine of a hundred shekels of silver. This was a large sum of money. Yet if the woman was proven to have played the harlot before she was married, she would be taken out and stoned.
People of God, consider how far the church has fallen in esteeming as holy those things that Yahweh says are holy! We live in the midst of a perverse generation, one which calls evil good, and good evil. A man or a woman who has reached adulthood as a virgin in many nations today is considered an object of pity. Youth are carelessly casting away that which God has determined should be guarded with the greatest care, and preserved until marriage. A Father in ancient times would jealously guard his daughter’s purity. It would be a great disgrace to discover that she had “played the harlot.”
If we were to use the same language that the Holy Spirit inspired the prophets and holy men of old to use in writing the Scriptures, would we not have to confess that the streets of our towns and cities, and the very pews of our churches, are filled with whores? Indeed, churches are filled with people who are continually practicing whoredom without repentance.
The use of insulting words such as whore and harlot were employed intentionally by the writers of Scripture. The Spirit was thereby signifying that a tremendous stigma was attached to a woman who allowed men other than her husband to enter into her body, treating that which was designed by Yahweh to be holy as a common and unholy thing. Would not Yahweh be provoked unto great wrath for a man to enter into the Holy of Holies in the Temple as if it were a common thing? Such a man would surely die.
Now when these things have been thus prepared, the priests are continually entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship, but into the second (the Holy of Holies) only the high priest enters…
Even the High Priest was not permitted to pass beyond the veil except at the prescribed time. If he entered at the wrong time, he would die.
And Yahweh said to Moses, “Tell your brother Aaron that he shall not enter at any time into the holy place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die.”
In a parallel to this, man is not to enter into sexual union with woman, except at the prescribed time.
If there is a man who lies with a menstruous woman and uncovers her nakedness, he has laid bare her flow, and she has exposed the flow of her blood; thus both of them shall be cut off from among their people.
A woman’s flow of menstrual blood had to have ceased for seven days before a man could enter into union with her. Seven days was the time of her purification.
“When a woman has a discharge, if her discharge in her body is blood, she shall continue in her menstrual impurity for seven days.”
The Temple and the Tabernacle also had to be ritually purified before the priests could perform service therein. Are not these things intended to be a profound parable of one another? We observe that there were specific laws pertaining to the purification of a woman before a man could “go in to her” even as there are laws governing the purification of the Tabernacle and the vessels used before the Priests could “go in” and perform their priestly duties.
Yahweh has covered the entire Tabernacle and Temple with holiness. They are sacred, and to be kept pure and undefiled from the pollution of the world. In the same way, Yahweh determined that the body of the woman should be holy. It was to be guarded diligently to maintain purity. Regarding both the Tabernacle, and a man’s wife, there was to be no “intercourse” with the world. In a marriage union, the Husband is the High Priest and the Wife is the Tabernacle. NO ONE CAN ENTER THE HOLY OF HOLIES EXCEPT THE HIGH PRIEST.
Before passing on to other matters, I want to share further of the parable demonstrated in the body of the virgin bride. In the design of God, the virgin bride has kept her hymen intact until her wedding night. At that time her husband, High Priest, is to enter in even as Christ entered that Tabernacle in the heavens at His crucifixion.
But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all…
At the crucifixion of Christ, as He yielded up His Spirit, we read that the veil of the Temple in Jerusalem was torn in two.
Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
(Click on image for larger view)
This is a great mystery. Those who are “in Christ” can now enter in through the veil freely. There is no longer any restriction. By Christ yielding up His Spirit, His Spirit was enabled to be imparted to mankind. We receive the seed of Christ even as a woman receives the seed of man. Both are attended with the rending of a veil. Once the veil is rent, then there is free (unrestricted) access from that moment forward.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
We can enter “boldly,” that is to say, without fear. What is this place spoken of by the apostle in Hebrews? Where does one “obtain mercy” except at the Mercy Seat, which was located above the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies?
The first time a virgin has sexual relations there is some pain involved. Even so, Christ endured pain, and his mother (the VIRGIN Mary) who witnessed His crucifixion, had a sword pierce her own heart. Yet after the first experience of entry, there is a new freedom. Indeed, there is a great joy and pleasure upon entry from that time forward.
Fixing our eyes on Yahshua, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross…*
* See end note.
There are great mysteries surrounding the sexual union of a man and a woman. I must leave many of them for your own contemplation, but will touch on a few more. Consider that when a man goes into his virgin bride that a blood covenant is cut. We observed previously that the man’s reproductive organ is the one marked by God as the covenant organ. The sign of circumcision is found there. It is the same for the woman. Even as a man experiences a tearing of the flesh and a flow of blood during circumcision, so too is the virgin’s flesh torn resulting in a flow of blood when she has her first sexual experience.
The covenant organ of the man literally carries the blood of the woman into the inner chamber. In this way, as High Priest, he is reenacting the work of Christ who as High Priest entered in through the veil and placed His own blood upon the mercy seat. The man and wife are “one flesh,” therefore the man is bringing his own blood into the place God has called holy.
In the act of first sexual union, a blood covenant is cut. It is a covenant that cannot be broken. The life is in the blood, and the covenant is in force as long as there is life present in those so joined.
Do you see, that what Yahweh has designed is far greater than some earthly contract? Marriage is far more than a compact to establish a relationship of mutual benefit that can be ended when either party determines that the benefit has ended. Marriage is a sacred and holy covenant. It is a covenant in blood. The union of the man and woman is Most Holy.
Many more parallels could be cited, for Yahweh with great skill, wisdom, and purpose has designed the physical human body to give testimony of the mysteries of the kingdom of God. Was not the Temple located on the Temple Mound? Even so the entrance to the woman’s holy place is through the pubic mound.
Did not the male Priest bring the grain offering into the Temple and Tabernacle? Even so man brings his “seed” into the tabernacle of the woman’s body.
Did not the Priest present free will offerings, as well as mandatory offerings in the Temple? Even so, the man may go into his wife of his free will, but he must also make himself available to the needs of his wife, whether it be his desire to do so, or not.
I Corinthians 7:4-5
The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
People of God, let me conclude this portion of teaching by leaving your attention upon the thought of the great holiness Yahweh attaches to these matters. The innermost chamber of the Temple and Tabernacle that man could enter into was called The Most Holy Place, and The Holy of Holies. Similarly, the innermost chamber of the woman that man can enter into is to be viewed with the same sanctity. It is Most Holy.
No one who has a remnant of the Holy Spirit of God can treat as common that which Yahweh has called the holiest of all. May we weep and grieve over the tremendous uncleanness of the people of God today! We have treated as common that which is most holy. May Yahweh grant His people repentance, and establish them in righteousness and holiness of the truth.
End Note: Some may find it objectionable to speak of the work of Christ in terms of sexual union. Do not the objections arise because the people of God have had their thoughts altered to view sex as something common, or even unholy? It is specifically with the goal in mind that the church should begin to see sexual union as MOST HOLY that I am bold enough to make these comparisons. My desire is not to bring Christ down, but rather to raise man up to a place where he esteems as holy that which God calls holy.
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